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Prerequisites: none
Verbal cue in English
Verbal cue in German:
"Platz" [:plootz]
Andy in 2020


Teaching our dog the "DOWN"...


In competitive obedience, there are some trainers that suggest teaching the Down (and Sit) as one of the last things before going to an obedience trial. Their reasoning is based on the observation that most dogs that have learned these commands early on don't show Down or Sit with the speed and enthusiasm that a trial judge would want to see. While I agree with their observation, I don't agree that this is a product of starting to train these behaviors too early. If you read through my Fundamentals chapter, you might remember that I suggested to keep training sessions short and to give your dog a break once he understands what the command means. Don't over-train and always make sure your dog has fun - the result will be a dog that happily follows your commands at all (most) times.

Getting to Down in a few simple steps:


Step 1

Get your treats and your clicker (in case you use one of those).


Step 2

Make sure your dog can focus exclusively on you and avoid any disturbance.


Step 3

Bring your dog in the Sit position.


Step 4

Calmly kneel down in front of your dog with the treat in your hand.


Step 5

In one motion, move your fingers with the treat to his nose so he can smell the treat and continue on to move your finger closely from the tip of his nose straight downwards to the floor. Most dogs will follow your fingers (yummy treat's) movement and lie down to get the treat.


Step 6

When your dog lies down, mark the behavior (Click or "Yes"), feed the treat to your dog and praise him. If your dog does not go all the way down at first, reward him for his attempt and then withhold the reward next time until he goes a little lower.


Step 7

If you and your dog are doing a good job, he should soon lie down each time you move your hand to the floor. Once he is at that point, you can introduce the spoken Down command. Speak the Down command in a friendly and encouraging manner every time your dog starts to get into the Down position.


Step 8

Once your dog understands the spoken command, he will go into the Down position once you say it.



What if ?


Q: What if my dog does not try to follow the treat?

A: Make sure he is hungry enough - and get a tastier treat!